Will Smith and Chris Rock’s History Goes All the Way Back to ‘Fresh Prince’ and Includes Drag
Will Smith and Chris Rock have dominated the news cycle in the aftermath of their dust-up at the 2022 Academy Awards. However, it's worth pointing out that their relationship didn't just start last night. In fact, it can be traced all the way back in time to the mid-'90s.
During the awards show, Will slapped Chris across the face after the comedian made a joke about Will's wife Jada Pinkett Smith while presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature.
Will later returned to the stage to claim the Oscar for Best Actor. During his emotional acceptance speech, the Pursuit of Happyness star apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but he did not directly address Chris.
Fans opened up their pop culture history books after the smack sent shock waves around the world and revisited any history the two actors shared with one another. You may even be surprised to learn that Will and Chris actually worked together on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Today notes Rock showed up as a guest star in a 1995 episode of Will's iconic show. He pulled double duty appearing as both a man and a woman (dressed in drag for the latter) during an episode titled "Get a Job."
You can check out a scene of Will's character meeting Chris' drag persona Jasmine, who he agrees to take out on a date to help impress her brother Maurice (Chris' second character), below:
Dressed in a leopard-print mini-dress with a matching headband and a prominent beauty mark, Chris' Jasmine is not exactly Will's type. In fact, you could argue that their chemistry in that moment is every bit as off as it was during the Oscars last night (March 27).
It's not overly clear if Chris was meant to become more of a mainstay on Fresh Prince. After all, Complex reports his appearance took place during one of the episodes in the show's final season.
His time on the series was brief, but it's not the only time Will and Chris have crossed paths over the years.
According to Today, Chris and Jada co-starred in the Madagascar franchise, in which Chris voiced Marty (the zebra) and Jada voiced Gloria (the hippo).
Meanwhile, People writes that Will was reportedly "still mad" about comments the comedian made about his wife while hosting the Academy Awards in 2016.
"Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties. I wasn't invited," Chris joked at the time. Today points out that he also took direct aim at Will during the show.
"When Chris hosted the Oscars in 2016, Jada was boycotting because of 'Oscars So White.' In his monologue, he made fun of her, saying she can't boycott something she wasn't invited to," a source told People. "Will was still mad about that."
That's not all, either. The Daily Mail reports that Chris poked fun at Will in 2018 after the actor wished his ex-wife Sheree Zampino a happy birthday.
"Wow," Chris wrote at the time. "You have a very understanding wife."
While we don't know how they clicked during their Fresh Prince collaboration, it's possible some of their other interactions fed into Will's decision to slap Chris during the 2022 Oscars.
Diddy later assured Page Six that the duo made up following the heated exchange. TMZ also reports Chris is not pursuing a police report. That said, hopefully they'll be able to move forward from this. Who knows, there may even be another collab in their future...